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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Normally, when I select artwork inside of Illustrator, I can see some handles that appear around the perimeter of that selection, which allow me to quickly scale or rotate the artwork. That happens because underneath the View menu, I have an option here called Bounding Box turned on. However, for the next tool that I want to show you, something called the Free Transform tool, I'm going to turn off the Bounding Box. I am going to choose Hide Bounding Box so we don't see those handles, because I will be honest with you, many times designers don't like to use that Bounding Box feature.
It kind of gets in the way of working sometimes. However, just because you don't want to use the Bounding Box, it doesn't mean that you want to give up some extended functionality inside of Illustrator, and that's why there is this other tool called the Free Transform tool. In fact, there is even something that the Free Transform tool can do that the Bounding Box can't. Let's take a look, so I have some artwork selected. I can now choose the Free Transform tool or tap the E key on my keyboard to select it. Notice now that Bounding Box appears and if I click in any of these handles, I can hold down the Shift key and scale things in proportion.
I can also move my cursor anywhere around the outside of the object to rotate it. Finally, for the one thing that you can now do with the Free Transform tool that you can't do with the Bounding Box, I am going to press Undo here is click on one of these handles and start dragging without holding down the Shift key, but once you start dragging, press the Command key, or if you are on Windows hold down the Control key. This allows you to distort the artwork as you pull on those handles. There is one other interesting thing that you can do when working with Free Transform.
I am going to press Undo, and that's if I click on this handle over here and when I start dragging to scale it, and I am holding down the Shift key right now to constrain proportions, you'll notice that right now the artwork is scaling from the upper left-hand corner. However, if I also hold down the Option key on my keyboard, or Alt on Windows, you can see that right now the artwork is scaling out from its center. So when using the Free Transform tool, you can take advantages of some of these keyboard shortcuts by using the Modifier keys like Command, Option and Shift to quickly scale, rotate or distort your artwork.
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